Famous Love Poems

Famous Love Poems

Classic Love Poems by Famous Poets

From the first prick of Cupid's arrow to the bitterness of heartbreak, poets throughout the ages have written on the mysteries of love. Their rhymes and allegories help us to better understand our emotions and sort the many ups and downs of love. Whether a simple crush or years of marriage, poetry throughout the centuries has helped express and illuminate the difficult sentiments of the heart. Turning to poetry can help us to put words to the passions and excitements that love inflames within us and to direct that fire to the forging and melding of two hearts together.

25 of the Best Famous Love Poems

  1. 1. [i Carry Your Heart With Me(i Carry It In]

    Edward Estlin Cummings (1894 - 1962) was a famous American Poet with an unusual style of writing. His name is frequently written in lowercase, e.e. cummings, and his poetry is probably best known for his unorthodox usage of both capitalization and punctuation, in which unexpected and seemingly misplaced punctuation sometimes interrupt sentences and even individual words.

    i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
    my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
    i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
    by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                                          i fear
    no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
    no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
    and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
    and whatever a sun will always sing is you

    here is the deepest secret nobody knows
    (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
    and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
    higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
    and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

    i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

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  3. 2. I Love You

    Ella Wheeler was born in 1850 on a farm in Wisconsin, the youngest of four children. She wrote numerous poems starting when she was 7 years old. During her life, Wilcox received many rejection letters before a publisher gave her books of poetry a chance. Despite these rejections, Wilcox remained very optimistic. Her best-known poetry book was Poems of Passion (1883). In her later years she went to France during World War 1 to lecture to the soldiers, and assist with the Red Cross.

    I love your lips when they’re wet with wine
        And red with a wild desire;
    I love your eyes when the lovelight lies
        Lit with a passionate fire.
    I love your arms when the warm white flesh
        Touches mine in a fond embrace;
    I love your hair when the strands enmesh
        Your kisses against my face.

    Not for me the cold, calm kiss
        Of a virgin’s bloodless love;
    Not for me the saint’s white bliss,
        Nor the heart of a spotless dove.
    But give me the love that so freely gives
        And laughs at the whole world’s blame,
    With your body so young and warm in my arms,
        It sets my poor heart aflame.

    So kiss me sweet with your warm wet mouth,
        Still fragrant with ruby wine,
    And say with a fervor born of the South
        That your body and soul are mine.
    Clasp me close in your warm young arms,
        While the pale stars shine above,
    And we’ll live our whole young lives away
        In the joys of a living love.

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  5. 3. One Hundred Love Sonnets

    Many of Pablo Neruda’s love poems helped him get known as an important Chilean poet. In this poem, he can’t fully explain his love, but he feels it deeply. It’s not one of show. Instead, it’s a love that’s simple and humble, a love that sees the beauty hidden within a person. The repetition of “I love you” brings attention to the poet’s desire to convey his feelings for the subject of this poem.

    I don’t love you as if you were a rose of salt, topaz,
    or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:
    I love you as one loves certain obscure things,
    secretly, between the shadow and the soul.

    I love you as the plant that doesn’t bloom but carries
    the light of those flowers, hidden, within itself,
    and thanks to your love the tight aroma that arose
    from the earth lives dimly in my body.

    I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,
    I love you directly without problems or pride:
    I love you like this because I don’t know any other way to love,
    except in this form in which I am not nor are you,
    so close that your hand upon my chest is mine,
    so close that your eyes close with my dreams.

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  6. 4. How Do I Love Thee?

    "How Do I Love Thee?" is one of the poems that make up the forty-four poems of Sonnets from the Portuguese. They were written while she was still courting her future husband, Mr. Browning, between 1845 and 1846. She writes that the love she has for him is everlasting and consumes every part of her.

    How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
    I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
    My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
    For the ends of being and ideal grace.
    I love thee to the level of every day's
    Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
    I love thee freely, as men strive for right;
    I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
    I love with a passion put to use
    In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
    I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
    With my lost saints, I love thee with the breath,
    Smiles, tears, of all my life! and, if God choose,
    I shall but love thee better after death.

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  7. 5. If You Forget Me

    This poem was written while Pablo Neruda was in exile from Chile, during which time he was also having an affair with Matilde Urrutia, the woman who would become his third wife. It is presumed the poem was written with Matilde in mind, perhaps while she was in his presence. This poem shows how when an individual consumes your thoughts, everything you see, hear, touch, or experience reminds you of that person. It also shows that love can only last when a relationship is cared for and not ignored. As soon as one person does not see it as important, the relationship begins to wither.

    I want you to know
    one thing.

    You know how this is:
    if I look
    at the crystal moon, at the red branch
    of the slow autumn at my window,
    if I touch
    near the fire
    the impalpable ash
    or the wrinkled body of the log,
    everything carries me to you,
    as if everything that exists,
    aromas, light, metals,
    were little boats
    that sail
    toward those isles of yours that wait for me.

    Well, now,
    if little by little you stop loving me
    I shall stop loving you little by little.

    If suddenly
    you forget me
    do not look for me,
    for I shall already have forgotten you.

    If you think it long and mad,
    the wind of banners
    that passes through my life,
    and you decide
    to leave me at the shore
    of the heart where I have roots,
    that on that day,
    at that hour,
    I shall lift my arms
    and my roots will set off
    to seek another land.

    if each day,
    each hour,
    you feel that you are destined for me
    with implacable sweetness,
    if each day a flower
    climbs up to your lips to seek me,
    ah my love, ah my own,
    in me all that fire is repeated,
    in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
    my love feeds on your love, beloved,
    and as long as you live it will be in your arms
    without leaving mine.

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  8. 6. When I Die I Want Your Hands On My Eyes

    In this poem, the speaker talks about wanting his spouse to remember him after he passes, but he doesn’t want her to mourn his loss so much that she doesn’t continue living her life. Pablo Neruda was a Chilean poet who lived from 1904-1973, and his first wife did not speak his native language of Spanish. This poem is made up of quatrains (four-line poems) and tercets (three-line poems).

    When I die I want your hands on my eyes:
    I want the light and the wheat of your beloved hands
    to pass their freshness over me one more time
    to feel the smoothness that changed my destiny.

    I want you to live while I wait for you, asleep,
    I want for your ears to go on hearing the wind,
    for you to smell the sea that we loved together
    and for you to go on walking the sand where we walked.

    I want for what I love to go on living
    and as for you I loved you and sang you above everything,
    for that, go on flowering, flowery one,

    so that you reach all that my love orders for you,
    so that my shadow passes through your hair,
    so that they know by this the reason for my song.

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  9. 7. Love's Language

    Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850 - 1919) was an American author and poet. Her best-known work was Poems of Passion. Her most enduring work was "Solitude", which contains the lines: "Laugh, and the world laughs with you; Weep, and you weep alone". Her autobiography, The Worlds and I, was published in 1918, a year before her death.

    How does Love speak?
    In the faint flush upon the telltale cheek,
    And in the pallor that succeeds it; by
    The quivering lid of an averted eye--
    The smile that proves the parent to a sigh
    Thus doth Love speak.

    How does Love speak?
    By the uneven heart-throbs, and the freak
    Of bounding pulses that stand still and ache,
    While new emotions, like strange barges, make
    Along vein-channels their disturbing course;
    Still as the dawn, and with the dawn's swift force--
    Thus doth Love speak.

    How does Love speak?
    In the avoidance of that which we seek--
    The sudden silence and reserve when near--
    The eye that glistens with an unshed tear--
    The joy that seems the counterpart of fear,
    As the alarmed heart leaps in the breast,
    And knows, and names, and greets its godlike guest--
    Thus doth Love speak.

    How does Love speak?
    In the proud spirit suddenly grown meek--
    The haughty heart grown humble; in the tender
    And unnamed light that floods the world with splendor;
    In the resemblance which the fond eyes trace
    In all fair things to one beloved face;
    In the shy touch of hands that thrill and tremble;
    In looks and lips that can no more dissemble--
    Thus doth Love speak.

    How does Love speak?
    In the wild words that uttered seem so weak
    They shrink ashamed in silence; in the fire
    Glance strikes with glance, swift flashing high and higher,
    Like lightnings that precede the mighty storm;
    In the deep, soulful stillness; in the warm,
    Impassioned tide that sweeps through throbbing veins,
    Between the shores of keen delights and pains;
    In the embrace where madness melts in bliss,
    And in the convulsive rapture of a kiss--
    Thus doth Love speak.

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  10. 8. Don't Go Far Off, Not Even For A Day

    Pablo Neruda (1904-1973) writes this poem about the intense love between two people. A man is so strongly connected to his lover that he fears what will happen if she ever decides to leave. He doesn’t want her to be away from him, even for a day, for he doesn’t know how he will survive without her. Pablo Neruda, a Chilean poet, had three wives. This poem is made up of quatrains and tercets that contain descriptive language.

    Don't go far off, not even for a day, because --
    because -- I don't know how to say it: a day is long
    and I will be waiting for you, as in an empty station
    when the trains are parked off somewhere else, asleep.

    Don't leave me, even for an hour, because
    then the little drops of anguish will all run together,
    the smoke that roams looking for a home will drift
    into me, choking my lost heart.

    Oh, may your silhouette never dissolve on the beach;
    may your eyelids never flutter into the empty distance.
    Don't leave me for a second, my dearest,

    because in that moment you'll have gone so far
    I'll wander mazily over all the earth, asking,
    Will you come back? Will you leave me here, dying?

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  11. 9. Love Sonnet XI

    In this sensual love poem, Pablo Neruda compares a hunting puma to desiring his lover. He is starving for her touch and love, and he is seeking after her. Pablo Neruda (1904-1973) was a Chilean poet well-known for his passionate love poems. He was married three times, and his first wife did not speak Spanish.

    I crave your mouth, your voice, your hair.
    Silent and starving, I prowl through the streets.
    Bread does not nourish me, dawn disrupts me, all day
    I hunt for the liquid measure of your steps.

    I hunger for your sleek laugh,
    your hands the color of a savage harvest,
    hunger for the pale stones of your fingernails,
    I want to eat your skin like a whole almond.

    I want to eat the sunbeam flaring in your lovely body,
    the sovereign nose of your arrogant face,
    I want to eat the fleeting shade of your lashes,

    and I pace around hungry, sniffing the twilight,
    hunting for you, for your hot heart,
    like a puma in the barrens of Quitratue.

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  12. 10. I Am Not Yours

    Sara Teasdale (1884 - 1933) was an American Poet. She was born in St. Louis, Missouri. In this poem, she writes about a longing for a passionate love which will "leave me deaf and blind."

    I am not yours, not lost in you,
    Not lost, although I long to be
    Lost as a candle lit at noon,
    Lost as a snowflake in the sea.

    You love me, and I find you still
    A spirit beautiful and bright,
    Yet I am I, who long to be
    Lost as a light is lost in light.

    Oh plunge me deep in love - put out
    My senses, leave me deaf and blind,
    Swept by the tempest of your love,
    A taper in a rushing wind.

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  13. 11. Somewhere I Have Never Travelled, Gladly Beyond

    E.E. Cummings (1894-1962) was an American poet. He had his own unique writing style where he didn’t use spaces after commas or capital letters where appropriate. E.E. Cummings did not give his poems titles, so editors would generally take the first line of his poems to create titles. In this poem, the speaker is head-over-heels in love. His lover has complete control over him, and she constantly amazes him. Similes, personification, and alliteration can be found in this piece. It is made up of quatrains that do not follow a rhyme scheme.

    somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond
    any experience,your eyes have their silence:
    in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
    or which i cannot touch because they are too near

    your slightest look easily will unclose me
    though i have closed myself as fingers,
    you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
    (touching skilfully,mysteriously)her first rose

    or if your wish be to close me,i and
    my life will shut very beautifully,suddenly,
    as when the heart of this flower imagines
    the snow carefully everywhere descending;

    nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
    the power of your intense fragility:whose texture
    compels me with the colour of its countries,
    rendering death and forever with each breathing

    (i do not know what it is about you that closes
    and opens;only something in me understands
    the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
    nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands

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  14. 12. Love's Coming

    Ella Wheeler Wilcox was an American author and poet who lived from 1850-1919. Her goal was to write pieces that lifted people’s spirits. In this poem, she writes of the great expectation of falling in love--that it will be an earth shattering moment, but the girl she writes about finds that she has fallen in love with someone who has always been by her side and is considered a close friend. That love has stood the test of time. This poem is made up of quatrains, four-line stanzas, that have a rhyme scheme of ABCB. The structure is also very intentional. The first two lines of each stanza show what the speaker hopes for when it comes to love, and the second two lines of each stanza reveal her reality.

    She had looked for his coming as warriors come,
    With the clash of arms and the bugle's call;
    But he came instead with a stealthy tread,
    Which she did not hear at all.

    She had thought how his armor would blaze in the sun,
    As he rode like a prince to claim his bride:
    In the sweet dim light of the falling night
    She found him at her side.

    She had dreamed how the gaze of his strange, bold eye
    Would wake her heart to a sudden glow:
    She found in his face the familiar grace
    Of a friend she used to know.

    She had dreamed how his coming would stir her soul,
    As the ocean is stirred by the wild storm's strife:
    He brought her the balm of a heavenly calm,
    And a peace which crowned her life.

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  15. 13. Always Marry An April Girl

    April is a month of tumultuous weather. Some days are dry, sunny, and pristine. Others are cold, stormy, and unenjoyable. Ogden Nash compares women to the month of April. They can be unpredictable. Sometimes they’re sweet and tender. Other times they’re cruel and angry, but in the end, they are loved for who they are.

    Praise the spells and bless the charms,
    I found April in my arms.
    April golden, April cloudy,
    Gracious, cruel, tender, rowdy;
    April soft in flowered languor,
    April cold with sudden anger,
    Ever changing, ever true --
    I love April, I love you.

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  16. 14. I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You

    Pablo Neruda was born in 1904 in Chile. His real name was Neftali Ricardo Reyes Basoalto. He wrote in green ink as a symbol of love and desire. Many of his poems have been translated from the original Spanish.

    I do not love you except because I love you;
    I go from loving to not loving you,
    From waiting to not waiting for you
    My heart moves from cold to fire.

    I love you only because it's you the one I love;
    I hate you deeply, and hating you
    Bend to you, and the measure of my changing love for you
    Is that I do not see you but love you blindly.

    Maybe January light will consume
    My heart with its cruel
    Ray, stealing my key to true calm.

    In this part of the story I am the one who
    Dies, the only one, and I will die of love because I love you,
    Because I love you, Love, in fire and blood.

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  17. 15. A Dream Girl

    Carl Sandburg was an American poet who lived from 1878-1967. Due to the financial strain in his family, he was only able to attend school through 8th grade, but his family valued diligence and education. Later in life, he did get to attend Lombard College for a tuition-free education because he served in the Spanish-American War. In this poem, the speaker talks of a girl he will meet one day. He hopes she will come into his life, but he knows it might be just a dream.

    You will come one day in a waver of love,
    Tender as dew, impetuous as rain,
    The tan of the sun will be on your skin,
    The purr of the breeze in your murmuring speech,
    You will pose with a hill-flower grace.

    You will come, with your slim, expressive arms,
    A poise of the head no sculptor has caught
    And nuances spoken with shoulder and neck,
    Your face in pass-and-repass of moods
    As many as skies in delicate change
    Of cloud and blue and flimmering sun.

    You may not come, O girl of a dream,
    We may but pass as the world goes by
    And take from a look of eyes into eyes,
    A film of hope and a memoried day.

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  18. 16. My Mistress' Eyes Are Nothing Like The Sun

    Poem about an ordinary relationship between lovers that is extraordinary. This poem is written in the form of a sonnet, which is a 14 line rhyming poem that has its origins in Italy. This poem makes fun of passionate love poetry in which the poet imagines that their lover is more spectacular than anything in the universe. Instead, the poet maintains that his relationship with his lover is as unique and magnificent as any other although his lover is an ordinary woman.

    My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
    Coral is far more red than her lips' red;
    If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
    If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
    I have seen roses damasked, red and white,
    But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
    And in some perfumes is there more delight
    Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
    I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
    That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
    I grant I never saw a goddess go;
    My mistress when she walks treads on the ground.
    And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
    As any she belied with false compare.

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    How absolutely lovely! The way the poem 'shows' more than tells is magnificent; this is an art unto itself!

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  19. 17. If Thou Must Love Me

    If Thou Must Love Me is Sonnet 14 in "Sonnets from the Portuguese," a collection of 44 love poems from Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806 – 1861) to her future husband Robert Browning. The couple married in 1846 and the collection was first published in 1850. Elizabeth was hesitant to publish the extremely personal collection, but Robert, a famous poet himself, urged her to publish them. The title suggesting that the sonnets were written by an unknown Portuguese was an attempt to give the couple some privacy.

    If thou must love me, let it be for nought
    Except for love's sake only. Do not say
    I love her for her smile ... her look ... her way
    Of speaking gently, ... for a trick of thought
    That falls in well with mine, and certes brought
    A sense of pleasant ease on such a day'—
    For these things in themselves, Beloved, may
    Be changed, or change for thee,—and love, so wrought,
    May be unwrought so. Neither love me for
    Thine own dear pity's wiping my cheeks dry,—
    A creature might forget to weep, who bore
    Thy comfort long, and lose thy love thereby!
    But love me for love's sake, that evermore
    Thou may'st love on, through love's eternity.

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  20. 18. A Valentine

    This Valentine Poem from Edgar Allan Poe was originally titled "To Her Whose Name Is Written Below." The poem was for Frances Sargent Osgood and her name is within the poem.
    To find the name, take the first letter of the first line, the second letter of the second line, the third letter of the third line, and so on until the end.

        For her this rhyme is penned, whose luminous eyes,
             Brightly expressive as the twins of Loeda,
         Shall find her own sweet name, that, nestling lies
             Upon the page, enwrapped from every reader.
         Search narrowly the lines!—they hold a treasure
             Divine—a talisman—an amulet
         That must be worn at heart. Search well the measure—
             The words—the syllables! Do not forget
         The trivialest point, or you may lose your labor!
             And yet there is in this no Gordian knot

         Which one might not undo without a sabre,
             If one could merely comprehend the plot.
         Enwritten upon the leaf where now are peering
             Eyes scintillating soul, there lie perdus
         Three eloquent words oft uttered in the hearing
             Of poets, by poets—as the name is a poet’s, too.
         Its letters, although naturally lying
             Like the knight Pinto—Mendez Ferdinando—
         Still form a synonym for Truth—Cease trying!
             You will not read the riddle, though you do the best you can do.

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  21. 19. Carnal Apple, Woman Filled, Burning Moon

    Pablo Neruda was a Chilean poet who lived from 1904-1973. He mostly wrote of politics and love. In this poem, he focuses on the latter. He writes of a passionate encounter with a woman he loves. He uses descriptive words and shares that love between two people has great moments but can also be filled with heartache. The sexual nature of his poems has caused controversy.

    Carnal apple, Woman filled, burning moon,
    dark smell of seaweed, crush of mud and light,
    what secret knowledge is clasped between your pillars?
    What primal night does Man touch with his senses?
    Ay, Love is a journey through waters and stars,
    through suffocating air, sharp tempests of grain:
    Love is a war of lightning,
    and two bodies ruined by a single sweetness.
    Kiss by kiss I cover your tiny infinity,
    your margins, your rivers, your diminutive villages,
    and a genital fire, transformed by delight,
    slips through the narrow channels of blood
    to precipitate a nocturnal carnation,
    to be, and be nothing but light in the dark

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  22. 20. Advice To A Girl

    Sara Teasdale (1884-1933) was an American poet who wrote seven books of poetry during her lifetime. Many of her poems focused on the emotional development of women. In this poem, the opening lines are repeated at the end, bringing attention to the theme of this poem that no one is in control of who you are. Each person has value and cannot be possessed by another.

    No one worth possessing
    Can be quite possessed;
    Lay that on your heart,
    My young angry dear;
    This truth, this hard and precious stone,
    Lay it on your hot cheek,
    Let it hide your tear.
    Hold it like a crystal
    When you are alone
    And gaze in the depths of the icy stone.
    Long, look long and you will be blessed:
    No one worth possessing
    Can be quite possessed.

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